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Colorectal Cancer - Understand the Risks, Prevention and Early Detection


Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects people in all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people age 50 and older.

Risk Factors
• People age 50 and older
• People who smoke
• People who are overweight or obese, especially those who carry fat around their waists
• People who aren’t physically active
• People who drink alcohol in excess, especially men
• People who eat a lot of red meat
• People with personal or family histories of colorectal cancer or benign (not cancerous) colorectal polyps
• People with personal histories of inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
• People with family histories of inherited colorectal cancer or inherited colorectal problems

Colorectal Cancer Prevention
• Be physically active for at least 30 minutes, at least five days a week.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit.
• If you drink alcohol, have no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman or two drinks a day if you’re a man.
• Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains to help you get and stay healthy.
• Eat less red meat and cut out processed meat.

Colorectal Cancer Early Detection
If you’re at average risk for colorectal cancer, start getting screened at age 50. If you’re at higher risk, it’s recommended that you start regular screening at an earlier age and be screened more often. If you’re older than 75, speak to your doctor about continuing screening. The best time to get screened is before you have any symptoms.

Colorectal Cancer Symptoms
Early stages of colorectal cancer don’t usually have symptoms. However, symptoms may develop later such as:
• Bleeding from the rectum or blood in or on the stool
• Change in bowel habits
• Stools that are more narrow than usual
• General problems in the abdomen, such as bloating, fullness or cramps
• Diarrhea, constipation or a feeling in the rectum that the bowel movement isn’t quite complete
• Weight loss for no apparent reason
• Being tired all the time
• Vomiting

Categories: Health